JONESBORO – “Caring for Community” is the theme for this year’s Delta Symposium, a tradition in its 23rd year at Arkansas State University.
Participants will explore various communities in the region. Special emphasis will provided to the integration of academic research with applied programs that address social issues within various communities. The annual conference brings scholars, students, musicians and artists from across the nation to the A-State campus to explore and experience the Delta’s history and culture.
The event is sponsored by the Department of English, Philosophy and World Languages in collaboration with the Delta Flix Film and Media Festival. It will take place from Wednesday through Saturday, April 5‑8. Most events will take place in the Mockingbird Room on the third floor of the Carl R. Reng Student Union, 101 North Caraway Road.
Wednesday, April 5
The symposium will commence at 12 noon on April 5 with a presentation by John T. Wayne, grandson of the movie star. Various media and panel presentations will continue throughout the afternoon as will screenings of films and media projects.
Wednesday’s events conclude with a special screening of the feature film “For the Love of the Music: The Club 47 Folk Music Revival” in the Student Union auditorium. The film is especially relevant as it sets the stage for Saturday’s “Dylan Day” activities.
Thursday, April 6
Thursday’s events begin at 8 a.m. in the Reng Student Union’s Mockingbird Room. Sessions will feature researchers and writers from across the nation. Panelists will include historians, literary scholars, folklorists, filmmakers and photographers who will explore topics ranging from the preservation of historic sites in communities to the place of memory in the construction of a sense of place.
Professor Richard M. Mizelle Jr. of the University of Houston will give the keynote address at 1:15 in the Mockingbird Room. He is the author of “Backwater Blues: The Mississippi Flood of 1927 in the African American Imagination.” His presentation is titled “Reimagining the Limited Archive.”
The day’s events will conclude with a screening of the film “In Country.” This 1989 feature film was directed by Norman Jewison, who adapted it from the novel by Bobbie Ann Mason. On Friday, Mason will be the special guest of the Symposium and the film and media festival, and she will answer questions about the adaptation of her novel into a movie.
Friday, April 7
Friday’s events also will begin at 8 a.m. with additional panels and media sessions. Professor Mitsutoshi Inaba of Austin Peay State University is one of the featured writers. He will give a special presentation at 11:30 on his new book, “John Lee ‘Sonny Boy’ Williamson: The Blues Harmonica of Chicago’s Bronzeville.”
Other writers will also be featured throughout the day, including presentations by the poet Dr. John Zheng, the nonfiction writer Dr. Alan Brown, and regional writers Randy Lairson and William Garner.
Saturday, April 8
Saturday’s events will begin on campus at 9 a.m. with special presentations on Bob Dylan. Nationally known speakers and scholars will present their research on Dylan’s music and life. The event is organized in honor of the late Dr. Frances Hunter, and it will serve as a capstone for her long-term research contributions that have culminated in a new anthology of Dylan scholarship titled “Professing Dylan.”
On Saturday afternoon, the symposium will conclude with the Arkansas Roots Music Festival, which is co-sponsored by KASU, 91.9 FM, the public broadcasting service of Arkansas State University. This outdoor event will feature roots music in a range of genres at Jonesboro’s City Water and Light Park. The event begins at 1 p.m. and runs until 5:30 p.m.
A range of musicians will take the stage, including The Vikki McGee 3, The Natural Disasters, Sky City, Sweet Angel, and the group Apple, Rounds, Hees, and Cobb. In case of rain, Saturday’s events will be moved to Fowler Center’s Riceland Hall on the A-State campus.
For further details about the schedule or presentations, contact the Department of English and Philosophy and World Languages at (870) 972-3043 or visit the Delta Symposium website (http://altweb.AState.edu/blues/).
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This and other news releases also available at: AState.edu/news